McLouth BBQ Blowout will feature run to remember student
by Dennis Sharkey
It has been nearly a year since the passing of McLouth teenager Justin Johnston and he is being remembered with a 5K run and fun walk at this year’s barbecue festival.
The run begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 2. It is the anniversary date of Johnston’s death. Registration begins at 7 a.m.
Johnston was shot by a security guard outside a hotel in Costa Rica where he and 11 other students were staying during an educational trip.
The 5K run and walk will help fund the Justin Johnston Memorial Scholarship. The fund will supply renewable scholarships to McLouth High School graduates pursuing an undergraduate degree.
Information about Johnston can be found on a Facebook page by searching justice for Justin. A Web site justiceforjustin.org has also been established to find registration forms for the race.
Registration forms for the race can also be downloaded from the facebook page or a copy can be obtained at the Independent office.
The race will begin and end at the McLouth school. There are several age categories and participants can register the day of the race. However, if participants register or have their registration postmarked before May 18 an event T-shirt is included. Prizes will also be awarded for class winners.
The 21st annual barbecue festival is sponsored by the McLouth Recreation Commission, Kansas Insurance Inc. and the Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative.
The barbecue contest is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society to qualify for the American Royal competition.
There is a cost to enter the competition but event-goers are admitted for free.
Although judges have been selected for the contest, barbecuers are also supplied with a pork roast to prepare for the people’s choice award. Teams prepare the roast how they like and event goers sample the roast and vote.
About 50 barbecuers participated in the contest last year but organizers are encouraging anyone to enter.
For those new to the art of barbecuing there is a Backyard Division for amateurs. There is a $250 prize for the winner. Barbecuers can register up until 10 a.m. on Saturday.
For more information about the festival go to mclouthbbq.com or contact Cheryl Wonnel at 785-843-2200 or Cliff Weeks at McLouth High School at 913-796-6122.
Other highlights of the event are:
- For motorcycle riders ABATE will host a motorcycle run and show on Saturday.
- The Jayhawk Model Master’s Club will be back with their model airplanes at the football stadium.
- The educational petting zoo and pony rides were so popular that they are being brought back for this year. Other activities for kids will include a moon walk and an apple spin.
- To get ready for barbecue a country breakfast will be served and for dessert local bakers will square off in a pie baking contest. The pies will be for sale after the contest. The check-in is from 9 to 10 a.m. with judging at 10:30 a.m.
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